Organized students can fulfill resolutions

Organized students can fulfill resolutions

Amanda Marchetta, Associate Editor, Online Editor

Happy February. After what felt like the longest and coldest January on record, I’m sure many people  have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions. I’m here to make a radical suggestion: all hope is not lost.

Only nine percent of Americans feel they succeed at keeping their New Year’s resolutions, but psychological studies show that certain approaches tend to prove more successful over long periods of time. Though people tend to fail, the new year offers a chance to reshape any aspect of your life; a clean slate tends to inspire people to start over and try new things. Unfortunately, diving into any new task requires dedication, motivation, and accepting the risk of failure.

Making your resolution–or any goal– SMART helps you stick to them. This acronym, coined by the Journal Management Review in 1981, stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound, encourages goal-setters to create attainable standards by which they can measure their progress, which helps them to continue in that vein.

Making your aims specific requires you to create a more concentrated, and therefore attainable, goal. If you had the intention of losing weight, how would you know when you have accomplished that? The end could be when you have lost one pound, ten pounds, or all your body fat. Instead, determine the specifics of your goal. Do you want to lose weight, or do you want an overall higher level of fitness? After considering the particulars, you can more easily decide whether you want to lose a number of pounds or go to the gym a few times a week. Creating measurable goals furthers this effect. By telling yourself you will go to the gym three days a week, you have a clear gauge of whether or not you have accomplished your objective.

The next standard directs goal-setters toward considering the reasonability of their objective. A plan to save one million dollars this year seems unreasonable if you work at McDonald’s after school three days a week; intending to save a percentage of your pay seems more achievable under those circumstances. Similarly, keeping your ambitions true to yourself makes them more attainable. Are you trying to lose weight so you feel healthier or because you think all your friends are thinner than you are? Set relevant goals for the right reasons, or you will not feel a real motivation to complete them.

The last portion of the acronym, time-bound, provides an end to your goal. The idea of an end date should not inspire you to stop going to the gym or saving money after your time expires, but rather keeps you on track to completing your goal.

These standards hold you accountable for achieving your goals. The measurability and time frame of your goals make tracking easier to determine how effectively you have performed, while relevancy and specificity ensure that the targets you set are ones you actually want to hit.